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Cesar Sayoc.
Cesar Sayoc. Broward County Sheriff's Office via Getty Images

The Massachusetts native who hired Cesar Sayoc, the man who was charged in a nationwide mail-bomb scare Friday, to deliver pizzas in Florida described him as racist, homophobic, and anti-Semitic.

In a phone interview with the Globe Friday night, Debra Gureghian said Sayoc worked as a delivery driver at New River Pizza & Fresh Kitchen in Fort Lauderdale for more than a year. He quit in January, she said.

Gureghian, a 59-year-old who grew up on Cape Cod, attended Barnstable High School, and lived in Watertown before she moved to Florida to care for her ailing mother six years ago, said Sayoc would spew “anti-gay, anti-black, anti-Jewish” rhetoric “everyday.”

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Gureghian said he told her that because she is a lesbian she is “deformed” and that she should be “put on an island with all the other gay people and burned.”

“He spewed such garbage, it was so vile,” said Gureghian, who works as the restaurant’s general manager. “There’s so much hatred today.”

She said she would not react when he would say hateful things.

“I just didn’t say anything,” she said. “My mother brought me up to be kind to people.”

Sayoc, who has a long criminal history, was charged Friday in the nationwide mail-bomb scare targeting prominent Democrats who have traded criticism with President Trump. The criminal complaint charges Sayoc with illegally mailing explosives, illegally transporting explosives across state lines, making threats against former presidents, assaulting federal officers and threatening interstate commerce.

He used the same white van that was prominently featured in national news broadcasts and splashed on news sites on Friday to deliver pizzas, she said. The van was adorned with “a billion stickers,” she said. She said at times there were KKK stickers and at least one sticker with a bullseye over a photo of Hillary Clinton on the vehicle. Sayoc, she said, “loved Adolph Hitler.”

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“If you didn’t fit his profile, you should go to an island and the island should be obliterated,” said Gureghian, who worked in a civilian role for the Massachusetts State Police for 23 years before moving to Florida.

Despite Sayoc’s bigoted worldview, Gureghian described him as a dependable worker, a reliable driver who was very clean.

She said she was shocked to hear of Friday’s news.

“I’m absolutely floored,” said Gureghian. “Never in a million years did I think something like this could happen.”


Material from the Associated Press was used in this report. Danny McDonald can be reached at daniel.mcdonald@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @Danny__McDonald.